June was an expensive month. In addition to paying quarterly taxes, I had several unexpected expenses (a new dryer for a rental property, emergency vet bills, out-of-pocket medical costs, car repairs). While I’ve been writing checks and letting retailers swipe my debit card, payments have been slow to roll in.
I’m not complaining.
After a decade of freelancing, I understand that work ebbs and flows, payments can be unpredictable, dogs get sick (often at the same time major appliances break down and other bills are due). To navigate the sometimes bumpy road of freelancing, I have a savings account. And I’m rigid about contributing to it.
Every freelancer needs a savings account.
I write about personal finance and often talk to experts about the importance of an emergency fund. Most of the financial planners I interview recommend a cushion of six months of living expenses. It’s not just about peace of mind in the event of unexpected expenses. A savings account gives a freelancer choices.
Consider this: If I didn’t have a savings account, I would have charged all of last month’s expenses to my credit card. And then I would have spent the entire month of July trying to book enough work to cover the bill with it comes in. In a fit of desperation, I might have accepted all assignments that were offered. It would have put me in a cycle of taking low paying work and cranking out assignments – and that would have prevented me from pursuing better paying gigs.
This cycle is one of the biggest reasons writers come to me for help. They want better paying work but are so caught up in churning out articles for low rates that they can’t pursue it. The reason: They need the money because they have no savings to tap into until they secure lucrative gigs
If you’re thinking about freelancing or you’re writing without a net, it’s time to start a savings account. Contribute as much as you can, as often as you can. The cash will advance your career in ways you never expected.